Lyrica for fibromyalgia

If you or a loved one has fibromyalgia, then you know that finding solutions for pain management can be exceptionally challenging. It’s hard to believe that plenty of people don’t even accept fibro as a legitimate condition. Nevertheless, it’s very real for those of us that live it each day. It’s a downright affliction that is often agonizing. Of course, no one experiences fibromyalgia the same, but many of us share similarities.

One treatment option that is frequently prescribed to manage fibro pain is Lyrica (pregabalin). The drug has shown some promise in giving some fibromyalgia patients relief from moderate to severe pain. However, there is definitely some debate. Specifically, the debate is over whether Lyrica for fibromyalgia is as beneficial as doctors have claimed.

What Exactly Is Lyrica?

Lyrica is actually classified as an anti-convulsant (anti-seizure) medication which is useful in treating epilepsy and partial seizures. It was later considered to be the first official medication for the treatment of fibromyalgia. It is considered effective when paired with other medications rather than used on its own. Lyrica acts as a depressant of the central nervous system by slowing down its activity. For this reason, many medical researchers believe that it can help with the nonspecific musculoskeletal pain associated with fibromyalgia.

How Well Does Lyrica for fibromyalgia work?

Since 2007, many doctors have prescribed Lyrica to their fibromyalgia patients. It was reported to be highly effective for many of them and continued to be a mainstream form of fibro pain management.  However, newer studies have called those reports into question, saying that “pregabalin at daily doses of 300 to 600 mg produces a large fall in pain in about 1 in 10 people with moderate or severe pain from fibromyalgia.”  Wait…what? One out of every 10 patients with fibromyalgia? Does that sound like a highly effective form of pain relief to you?

Of course, we always have to remember that every medication affects every patient in different ways and to varying degrees. There are some fibromyalgia patients who actually do see some improvement in their pain levels by using Lyrica for fibromyalgia. That’s why it’s so important to discuss your options with your doctor before coming to a conclusion too quickly. After all, you wouldn’t want to limit your options since those of us with fibromyalgia have so few options to start with. You could be one of the lucky few that actually benefits from this drug.

But here’s the thing: if you’re going to do it, you should definitely be armed with the knowledge of what to expect. Meaning Lyrica for fibromyalgia, like all medications, has some potential risks that you need to be aware of, including but not limited to:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Confusion
  • Decrease/increase in libido
  • Memory impairment
  • Depression
  • Anorgasmia
  • Myalgia
  • Urinary difficulties
  • Drastic changes in blood pressure
  • Pancreatitis

It’s also quite possible to develop a chemical dependency on Lyrica for fibromyalgia. You may think, “Yeah, but if I have to take anyway, what difference does it make if I’m dependent on it?” It mostly matters because, if you ever decide to stop taking it for one reason or another, you must gradually step down your dosage under the guidance of your healthcare practitioner. Speaking from experience, quitting medications like this cold-turkey can really do some damage to your system. Suddenly quitting Lyrica can result in a number of other health and neurological problems. And that just isn’t something that a fibro patient needs in their life: more health problems.

You already know this, but any time you’re thinking about trying a new pharmaceutical treatment like Lyrica for fibromyalgia, you should consult your physician. And when you do, make sure you’re prepared with a list of all medications and supplements that you take. Even holistic herbal treatments can interact negatively with prescription drugs. Case in point: many years ago, I took a prescription similar to Lyrica for debilitating migraines. When I drank a certain store-bought herbal tea while on the medication, I began to see stars, got strangely jittery, and sometimes I felt like I was going to pass out if I didn’t immediately sit down. Seriously, folks, prescriptions are nothing to mess around with.

Always do your own research and don’t be afraid to ask your healthcare provider any questions you may have. If you’re provider makes you feel stupid for asking questions, fire them and get a new one! Have you tried Lyrica? Did it work for you? Have you found a different medication or therapy that is effective for treating several of your fibromyalgia symptoms at once?